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The article points out that the artists invited by the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (Argentina) to the Primer Premio de Grabado “Facio Hebecquer” [First “Facio Hebecquer” Prize for Engraving] (1971) communicated their refusal to submit works to the Sociedad Argentina de Artistas Plásticos. This was due to the censorship that the de facto government committed against the prize-winning artists during the II Certamen Nacional de Investigacions Visuales [II National Visual Arts Research Competition]. The artists’ press release also interprets the Academia’s silence regarding the censorship as tacit support for the discriminatory measures that affected the Salón. 


The Salón Nacional de Artes Plásticas [National Salon for the Visual Arts] of Argentina was founded in 1911; its regulations varied over time, depending on the needs [of the moment].  The Salón Nacional for the years 1968 and 1969 included a section called “Visual Arts Research.” The category sought to include the new formats of experimental art (kinetic objects, Pop art, and the like). In 1970 and 1971, it led to the implementation of Certamen Anual de Investigaciones Visuales. 


The Certamen Nacional de Investigaciones Visuales—which was held during the de facto government of General Alejandro Agustín Lanusse (1971-73)—resulted in the censorship of the artworks that had won the Grand Prize and the First Prize. By means of Executive Order 5696/71, the authorities excluded those prize-winning works from the exhibition, stating they were “not accepted” due to their “manifest ideological intent.” Thus they declared the grand and first prizes awarded by the jury null and void. These deeds fostered the repudiation of artists as well as some cultural organizations, and gave rise to various legal actions. 


Jacobo Timerman founded the Argentinean newspaper La Opinión in 1971. It maintained a critical perspective on the government’s policies and official acts. It was shut down and expropriated in 1977 by the de facto government of General Jorge Rafael Videla (1976–81).


Hugo Monzón was an Argentinean art critic and director of the Museo de Artes Plásticas Eduardo Sívori. He also was in charge of the Visual Arts Section of the La Opinión newspaper.


This article was selected because it documents the artists’ protest of the authorities’ arbitrary decision. Their dissatisfaction was expressed by declining to participate in another Prize sponsored by the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes. 

Cristina Rossi.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of the personal archives of Hugo E. Monzón, Buenos Aires, R. Argentina
Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana "Dr. Emilio Ravignani".